Comcast teams with VR startup to offer TV for visually impaired consumers

James Baldwin, an 18-year Army veteran, tests out a NuEyes headset with Comcast Xfinity Stream. (Comcast)

Comcast is partnering with wearable technology startup NuEyes to offer its Xfinity Stream app to visually impaired customers through NuEyes' virtual reality technology.

The Xfinity Stream app now comes pre-installed on the NuEyes e2 smartglasses and VR magnifying device that’s designed to enhance the usable vision of a person who is visually impaired due to conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa.

“Being blind since birth, I know firsthand the power of technology to enhance independence,” said Tom Wlodkowski, vice president of accessibility at Comcast, in a statement. “Our partnership with NuEyes is an extension of our commitment to designing great entertainment experiences for people of all abilities.”

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RELATED: Comcast adds eye controls to its X1 TV service

“Collaborating with Comcast has been an absolute joy,” said Mark Greget, founder and CEO of NuEyes, in a statement. “To be able to stream content directly to our consumers’ eyes in a way that has never been done before enables millions of visually impaired people to continue enjoying their TV experience and more.”

The NuEyes partnership follows Comcast’s launch of eye controls for X1 earlier this year. Xfinity X1 eye control is a web-based remote for tablets and computers that pairs with an existing eye gaze system, and lets users change channels, set recordings and search for programming. Xfinity customers can use their credentials to pair the web-based remote with their set-top-box. Then, each time the customer gazes at a button, the web-based remote sends the corresponding command to the television.

"We are pleased to see how Comcast continues to make their products and solutions accessible,” said Tara Rudnicki, president North America at Tobii Dynavox, a provider of touch and eye tracking assistive technology hardware and software, in a statement. “As an assistive technology company, we want to empower our users to live independent lives. With the X1 eye control now enabled with eye gaze, it will come to great use for many of them.”

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